April 4, 2006
New action plan for lasting impact on incidence of violence in province
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador�s new six-year violence prevention plan - Taking Action Against Violence - was officially launched today by Joan Burke, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and lead Minister for the Violence Prevention Initiative. The plan, which is part of government�s commitment to building safe and secure communities, was allocated $1.25 million in Budget 2006, a total of $7.5 million over six years.
"This investment is a clear demonstration of our commitment to addressing violence in our communities," said Minister Burke. "Working with community organizations we can change attitudes, stop the cycle of violence, and give victims of violence the supports they need to live free from abuse."
Developed from consultations with community partners and government departments and agencies, the new plan focuses on early intervention and prevention and identifies over 150 activities. It outlines six strategic priorities: (1) increasing awareness and attitudinal change; (2) increasing community participation; (3) improving legislation, policy, programs, services, information and facilities; (4) supporting Aboriginal women and children; (5) enhancing research and development; and, (6) improving leadership, coordination and accountability.
The plan focuses on preventing violence against women, children and youth, Aboriginal women and children, seniors, persons with disabilities and others who are victims of violence because of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status.
A key part of the implementation of the plan is strengthening the commitment and support to community partners. Over half of the annual budget is earmarked for grants to community partners and work at the community level. Highlights include:
"Violence is so pervasive a social problem that it remains unquestioned by most. Its roots in inequality, poverty and social exclusion, are so deeply engrained that efforts to address and reverse its impact on our homes and communities must be concerted and comprehensive," said Dana English, member of the Community Advisory Committee and coordinator for the Regional Coordinating Coalition Against Violence. "We are delighted to see the crucial partnership between government and community continue in this most important initiative."
"In addition to investing in the grass-roots work of community-based organizations," said Minister Burke, "we are also undertaking specific initiatives within government to reach the people who are directly impacted by violence, and help those who work with victims of violence on a daily basis."
Over six years, some of highlights include:
"We heard clearly during consultations with community partners that there is a real need for more education and public awareness to change attitudes," said Minister Burke. Approximately $250,000 will be provided annually for public awareness campaigns focusing on elder abuse, violence against women, child abuse and prevention services and supports for victims of violence.
"To truly affect change in our communities, we need to work together," said Minister Burke. "This unprecedented commitment will enable government to work with our community partners and have a lasting impact on the incidence of violence in our communities."
Government departments involved in the Violence Prevention Initiative include:
Community organizations involved with the Violence Prevention Initiative include:
Other stakeholders include:
Highlights of activities by population:
Children: Programs in the new Violence Prevention Initiative will focus on providing early intervention programs for high-risk youth and families. Risk assessment tools will be used in schools, and family programs in the education system will be strengthened.
Youth: A cross-departmental violence prevention youth strategy will be established to maximize the efforts of several youth-focused programs and services. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary�s Students Taking Responsibility in Violence Education (STRIVE) program will be updated and increased collaboration with other community programs aimed at youth will take place. Bullying, harassment and intimidation is one issue currently being addressed by the Department of Education. An in-service for teachers on this topic will be extended to ensure teachers have the tools necessary to react quickly and effectively to bullying situations in our schools.
Aboriginal Women and Children: Under its regular granting program, the Women�s Policy Office will provide grants for violence prevention projects in Aboriginal communities. A comprehensive review of the services required for women and children in transition will focus separately on what services are needed for Aboriginal women and children. In addition, the Department of Justice will begin work to improve translation services for Aboriginal people in the justice system.
Seniors: As part of the Violence Prevention Initiative�s public awareness campaign, government will send a message that violence against seniors is unacceptable. Awareness around indicators of abuse will also be raised in this campaign to ensure that seniors know when they are being abused physically, psychologically and most often, financially.
Persons with disabilities: Persons with disabilities face countless challenges in reporting violence and in accessing existing intervention services. Violence Prevention Initiative departments and agencies intend to evaluate services and take measures to improve services for persons with disabilities.
Persons who are victims due to race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or economic status: Newfoundland and Labrador is growing in diversity. The Violence Prevention Initiative will promote diversity and include anti-racism and anti-sexism messages in its public awareness campaigns. Encouraging diversity and acceptance is another important aspect of violence prevention. A review of existing cultural sensitivity training will take place and diversity inclusive education will receive new support.
2006 04 04 10:30 a.m.
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